Siquijor is a quiet relaxed island located in the Central Visayas region with a population of 91.000 people. Siquijor is commonly associated with witchcraft, mystic traditions and supernatural phenomena. Not only in a spooky way – it’s also said that you can find healers with miraculous powers there.
We spent 3 days in San Juan, which is supposed to be the nicest beach on this island. It takes 30 – 40 minutes with the Tricycle from the port to San Juan, which costs between 50 – 100 PHP per person (they have day and night prices). There aren’t a lot of cheap accommodation options online, so they are quickly booked up. But if you walk around and ask you can find cheap private rooms. We stayed in a double room directly on the beach for 500 PHP.
We stayed in Siquijor in January and it was very very quiet. Most of the restaurants and street kitchen closed at around 9 pm and even the bars of the “bigger” hotels were almost empty. If you are looking for a quiet place with beautiful beaches to hang out and relax, this island is the right place. Once we made a bonfire on the beach and a friend played a bit with his Ukulele – there was no one else but us – it felt like being in one of this paradise scenes in a movie 🙂
On the beach in San Juan we have seen one of the best sunsets ever. The sun colored the ocean in such beautiful orange and golden colors, that we were stunned. You can see Apo Island from the beach, the sun disappears right behind it. There are a few nice bars from where you can enjoy this wonderful view.
Driving around the Island with a Scooter
We rent a scooter to explore the island, which cost 300 PHP for one day. The entire road around the island is 70 km and it’s easily do drive around in one day. The main-road is well-paved and you can drive right to the seaside or through the green inland. If you take smaller roads, which lead eg. to a beach or waterfall, the streets can get very bumpy. It took us 5 hours, including a 1 hour stop at the waterfall to drive around the island. Siquijor is very green and clean and you drive through beautiful avenues of palm trees. There are rice terraces and small villages with old churches and colorfully painted schools on the way.
We went to the Cambugahay fall, which is a small, unspectacular waterfall. But the water is clean and refreshing and there are almost no tourists. It’s not that easy to find: it’s close to the town Lazi and you have to leave the main road and take a bumpy rocky path, drive through private lots and take a short hike of 10 minutes to get there. Just ask the friendly locals for the way if you can’t find it. The entrance / parking fee is 20 PHP.
The only time I could feel a bit of this mystical reputation of the island was when we passed the oldcemetery. You can find it close to the port, it’s just right to the road. Somehow it looks mysterious and enchanted with the flowers growing on the old, broken graves. At a closer look we saw that some graves are already broken and we could see the bones of the bodies in there – which was quite spooky.
How to get to Siquijor Island
To sum it up Siquijor is a beautiful and laid-back island to hang out and relax. There are very nice beaches and you only have to share them with a hand full of locals and tourists.
There are different boat companies and getting proper information about various time schedules and prices is a bit difficult in the Philippines. On the day we wanted to go, there was only Ocean Jet going from Tagbilaran (Bohol) to Siquijor.
The ferry from Tagbilaran to Siquijor takes 3,5 hours and costs 800 PHP. The terminal fee is 20 PHP and the fee for the luggage 100 PHP.
The ferry from Dumaguete to Siquijor takes only 45 with the speed boat (210 PHP) or a bit longer with the local boat (130 PHP).